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China to help ASEAN countries in fighting bird flu
Updated: 2005-12-12 21:53

KUALA LUMPUR -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday called on Asian nations to strengthen regional cooperation in fighting avian flu and announced that China is ready to provide assistance to ASEAN nations affected by the disease.

Speaking at the ninth China-ASEAN summit held in the Malaysian capital, Wen said it was an urgent task facing all Asian nations to work together to prevent and control the highly pathogenic avian flu and stop the transmission of the virus to humans.

"China is ready to provide, within its capability, funds, medical supplies and technical assistance to ASEAN countries affected by avian flu," said the Chinese premier.

"Using the China-ASEAN Fund for Public Health, China will provide technical training to ASEAN countries, take part in joint research and strengthen exchange of experience in avian flu prevention and control," he said.

He added that China's National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory is ready to share its experience and carry out cooperation in diagnosis with ASEAN countries.

The two sides should enhance information sharing of the occurrence of avian flu and speedily set up a joint mechanism of prevention and control, said the Chinese premier.

He also suggested that a China-ASEAN Health Ministers' Meeting on Emerging Infectious Diseases be convened in the first half of next year to discuss avian flu prevention and control, vaccine research and development and related issues.

He added that ASEAN is warmly welcome to attend the International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Influenza that China is to host with the EU and the World Bank in China next January.

Dozens of people have been killed by bird flu in Asia since 2003, and there are fears that the deadly virus could mutate into a form that could be easily passed on from one person to another, sparking a worldwide pandemic.

ASEAN, established in 1967, groups Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The regional bloc is dedicated to accelerating economic growth, social progress and cultural development through cooperative programs.

Wen arrived here Sunday to attend East Asian summits and pay an official visit to Malaysia, the last leg of Wen's five-nation Euro-Asia tour, which has taken him to France, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Portugal.

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